Project presentation

Although classical research on social stratification has widely considered the geographical dimensions of social inequalities, surprisingly fewer studies have focused on how spatial arrangements affect the intergenerational reproduction of inequalities in the last decades. GESI-Geography and Social Inequality in Italy Project is the first comprehensive study that investigates how the geographical area of origin affects different aspects of individual life courses and reverberates on social inequalities in life outcomes in Italy.

Project Objectives

The project considers the multidimensional and cumulative nature of social stratification, focusing on different aspects of individuals’ life chances: educational and occupational opportunities, social mobility pathways, family dynamics and internal geographical mobility.

The project addresses the following objectives:

  • To investigate the effects of geographical origin on individuals’ life outcomes;
  • To study how geographical origin intersects with other dimensions of social inequality (e.g. education, social background of origin, etc.);
  • To examine how internal geographical mobility reinforces existing social inequalities;
  • To collect new and original data on different aspects of social and geographical inequalities.


The GESI project adopts a multi-method approach, not only focusing on existing publicly available datasets, but also conducting:

  • A new quantitative survey (IMOB) on a representative sample of the Italian population, aiming at filling a substantial lack of data on detailed geographical origin, internal mobility and related social inequalities;
  • A set of qualitative interviews in a theoretically-selected sample of marginal areas, aiming at studying the relations between migrants and stayers and highlighting the role of trans-local social networks.
  • Innovative data on personal networks, providing a more comprehensive overview of the challenges associated with inequality and mobility aspirations.

Interdisciplinarity and Collaborative Efforts:

GESI is an interdisciplinary project that brings together five research units located in Milan, Trento, Catania, Bologna, and Roma Luiss. These units consist of specialists from various social science disciplines, employing different methodological approaches. The project also establishes organic connections with international literature and collaborates with other research projects funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

Impacts and Dissemination

The GESI project aims to generate significant scientific and socio-economic impacts. By implementing a structured dissemination plan and seeking advice from a high-level international board, the project ensures the meaningful dissemination of its findings. The research outcomes of GESI contribute to advancing knowledge in the field and informing policy-making processes.


Working packages

The GESI project includes 4 different working packages:

  • WP1 – Educational opportunities
  • WP2 – Occupational and social mobility
  • WP3 – Family dynamics
  • WP4 – Internal geographical mobility
  • WP5 – Personal network and trans-local social ties